Labor Day Weekend

I love three day weekends for the sole reason that we have more time to do all the things we want to do in a normal two-day weekend, without feeling rushed or tired. Minh and I didn’t have many set plans for the weekend, so it made this weekend a bit more relaxed.

SATURDAY – Course Preview: Point Mugu Trail Run

The kind folks over at Generic Events, who organize the Xterra SoCal Trail Race Series, set-up a preview run for next month’s Point Mugu Trail Run. The meet-up was at 8AM, so Minh and I had to get up extra early (for a Saturday) to make it up to Point Mugu State Park in time (about 2 hours away). Luckily, we made it by with 15 minutes to spare.. and most everyone else was just showing up.

The Ray Miller Trail doesn’t allow bikes, so Minh had to ride down to the Sycamore Canyon entrance to start his mountain ride (he wasn’t about to run 11 miles with me). I was expecting the run to take about 2 hours, but I didn’t take into consideration how technical the trail would be or the pace of the group. There were 13 of us, but we ended up splitting into two groups, moderate runner and slower runners. I stuck with the moderate pace for most of the course, falling behind near the end. We started off pretty slow, but the beginning is pretty technical singletrack and has quite a bit of climbing. It was nothing like I had ever run before. I’m used to Peters Canyon, where the single track isn’t overgrown and the steepest climbs are not very long.

This little guy was dozing off in the parking lot as we were starting our run..

The course offers a little bit of every for the trail runner, except stream crossing (THANK THE LORD!!!). There’s nice singletrack, both technical with steep drop-offs if you veer off course and not-so-technical but a bit overgrown. There’s wide open fire roads with steady to steep climbs. There’s a long smooth descent on a switchback course at the end that takes you down to the finish. And, as is expected with any trail, there are amazing views of the surrounding area (which happens to be picturesque Malibu beaches).

Here's a shot of Malibu with the marine layer rolling in (or out)..

Trail was a little overgrown, but offered some really nice views..

Nice shot of Point Mugu Naval Base

Boney Mountain in the distance.. another Xterra Trail Race venue..

Overall the run was great. I got a bit sore at the end, but forced myself to keep pushing to finish. Finished the 18k course (just under 11 miles) in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. I know come race day that I can cut at least 20 minutes on that time, but I’d like to get under 2 hours. I also decided during the run that I need to get a new pair of trail shoes. The ones I’ve been using were originally bought on a whim (because they were on sale) to be everyday-use walking shoes, but I’ve been using them for trail runs because I don’t want to get my road running shoes dirty. But on this longer run, it really started to KILL my ankles becuase there’s no support in them. Hopefully I can try some out and get a pair soon to break in before the race next month.

After the run, we got cleaned up and had lunch. The plan was to go check out the Adamson House, but parking was terrible on the street and expensive in the lots. Instead, we headed over to Lake Shrine, which was an interesting place, to say the least. It’s very nice and peaceful, but it gave me a weird vibe, which I can’t really explain. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself.

SUNDAY – Lazy Bum Day

I slept in / stayed in bed Sunday morning for a long time. Since Minh had a long ride on Saturday, he didn’t want to ride again on Sunday. So I was left to ride on my own. This meant that I could set my own schedule and start whenever I wanted, go whatever distance I wanted, and go at whatever pace I felt like. Not a good combination for setting training goals.

I left my house intending to hit the Santa Ana River Trail for two hours (Minh didn’t want me riding on the street by myself because I don’t pay enough attention). I ended up leaving my house at the bright and early time of 10:30AM. My legs were SORE from the run, so I decided to take it easy. The weather was cool when I left my house, but it quickly turned to HOT. I ended up not going very far (turned around at the Honda Center) and getting back to the house an hour later.

The rest of the day I watched TV and did word puzzles. Then, after church, Minh and I went to Tokyo Table for dinner and wandered around Whole Foods looking at what special groceries they sold and buying beer.

MONDAY – Chino Hill State Park

The weather for Monday said highs in the low-70s. That would be great weather for a long mountain ride if it were true for the Yorba Linda area. Minh picked the trail for the day: Chino Hills State Park. This was one of the first places we rode together back in 2008 (before we were dating). Back then, we chose a beautiful spring day in April which ended up being a record-breaking 100°F+ day that KILLED us. Also, back then, we didn’t do the full 20 miles that Minh had chosen for Monday.

The ride was tougher than either of us expected. Starts off with a lot of rolling hills, but not little rolling hills. These were long steep climbs. I was lucky to have a granny gear. Minh was riding his new Niner, which only has one ring in the front (he was complaining about it the whole day!). We went through some nice single track that was a little overgrown, but not too bad, that took us to Four Corners. From there, we took Raptor Ridge to Telegraph to Rolling M Ranch. Lots more single track and climbing and descending.

Minh realized about halfway through our ride that he never tightened his handlebars in.. whoops..

Minh coming out of some dry and overgrown singletrack

Old windmill and shack near Rolling M Ranch

There was a lot more “rolling hills” on the way back to Four Corners from Rolling M Ranch. We had some nice long descents (after all the climbing, it felt good to just let go and descend). Then more “rolling hills” back to the car. Toward the end, we were starting to lose steam and not make it up the hills. One – we didn’t bring nearly enough water to handle 2+ hours in 95°F weather (which is what the Garmin told me the temperature was). and Two – we would just lose steam partway up the hills. The grades were pretty steep, some greater than 30%. The climbs were also very soft, which made it difficult to get any traction.

Just before we got back to the car, we rode through a burn area that was pretty surreal. You could see where the fire stopped by the switch in color of the overgrowth. Minh said it kind of looked like a brownie next to a chocolate chip cookie (we were hungry as we got towards the end). It was also amazing how close the fire got to the nearby houses without causing any damage. Had to be less than 100 yards away to the neighborhood where we parked.

Remnants of a brush fire.. you can tell where the edge of the fire is from the change in color..

Amazing how the fire didn't jump the trail and spread further.. less than 50 yards from a neighborhood..

At the end, we both felt good about the ride, but were dead tired afterwards. We were going to head over to Slater’s 50/50 Burger for lunch, but were so hungry that we ended up at McDonald’s instead. Once we got home, we got cleaned up and took a nap. Then we made dinner (TACOS!) and Minh went to do laundry while I got to bed early(ish) – after watching an episode of Hoarders on A&E (a new guilty pleasure).

It was a good weekend. Really relaxing because we didn’t have any set plans and were allowed to workout and rest and recover and sleep in.

2 thoughts on “Labor Day Weekend

  1. Pingback: Weekend Recap: The Search for New Trail Shoes « Think Tran

  2. Pingback: Race Review: Xterra SoCal Trail Run #1 – Point Mugu 18k « Think Tran

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